Vols Basketball to Host West Virginia in SEC/Big 12 Challenge
(utsports.com) Not only is the Tennessee football team facing West Virginia this fall, the Volunteers’ basketball team is hosting the Mountaineers on the hardwood this winter as part of the 2019 SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Jan. 26.
The 2019 SEC/Big 12 Challenge marks the event’s sixth year. Tennessee is 3-1 in the event, as the Vols did not take part in the inaugural challenge. Four of the SEC’s 14 teams are idle during the challenge each year because there are only 10 teams in the Big 12.
Other challenge matchups set for Jan. 26 are: Alabama at Baylor, Arkansas at Texas Tech, Florida at TCU, Texas at Georgia, Kansas at Kentucky, Iowa State at Ole Miss, South Carolina at Oklahoma State, Kansas State at Texas A&M and Vanderbilt at Oklahoma.
Four of the 10 games will be televised on ESPN, four will be shown on ESPN2 and two games will air on ESPNU. All 10 games also will be available on the ESPN app. ESPN’s College GameDay Covered by State Farm–the Saturday roadshow that discusses the top storylines of the college basketball season–will originate from one of the challenge games. Tipoff times and network designations will be announced at a later date.
The SEC won the challenge for the first time last season (6-4), with Tennessee contributing to the league’s successful showing by dismantling Iowa State on the road.
The Volunteers are 3-5 all-time against West Virginia, including a 1-2 mark in Knoxville. The programs haven’t met since Nov. 23, 2007, when the seventh-ranked Vols defeated the Mountaineers, 74-72, at the Legends Classic in Newark, New Jersey.
Tennessee’s all-time record against current members of the Big 12 stands at 13-17. Fourth-year UT head coach Rick Barnes—who spent 17 seasons coaching in the Big 12 before transitioning to Knoxville—owns a 159-94 record against current Big 12 teams and is 8-4 in his career against West Virginia.
Barnes (661 wins) and WVU head coach Bob Huggins (759 wins) rank seventh and fourth, respectively, in Division I wins among active head coaches.
Last season, West Virginia posted a 26-11 (11-7 Big 12) record and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. It was the program’s third Sweet Sixteen appearance in the last four years.
Tennessee’s gridiron matchup against West Virginia—billed as the Belk College Kickoff—takes place Sept. 1 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is the season-opener for both teams, and the first-ever football meeting between the programs.